Smile Politely

Market Watch: “Oh Lord, deliver us from the elements!”

Last weekend at the Market was… Novemberish. We’ll admit it. Weatherwise, we experienced a little bit of everything that day: mist, fog, sprinkles, gusty winds, chilly temperatures, the rare sunbeam — but the Market was definitely missing quite a few patrons, as though The End had truly come. While we dig that going out into the elements doesn’t sound all that appealing, the Market isn’t over — not by a long shot.


Fortunately, the weather forecast is looking thumbs-up for this weekend’s Market, so gather all your reusable shopping bags, grab a jacket, and get on over there.

Last weekend we mentioned all the varieties of squash and pumpkin available at the Market this season. This week? We’re all about brassicas — the family of plants that most of you eaters know better as broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, turnip, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and many more. These foods are healthy, relatively inexpensive, and when purchased locally-grown and at the peak of freshness (like when you buy stuff at the Market), their taste is a revelation.

Because they thrive in cooler weather, brassicas are in heavy supply right now at the Market. Just about every grower selling vegetables has something to offer from this family, whether it be jewel-toned cabbages (Savoy for American cole slaw, Napa for Asian dishes — they’re basically interchangeable, though), mountains of forest-green broccoli crowns, or kale by the bunch.

It’s the kale, actually, that captured our attention after running across this recipe in the current issue of Bon Appetit magazine. Just for kicks, here’s the recipe, developed by food writer Molly Wizenberg:


  • 1 pound lacinato kale (about 2 bunches), large center ribs and stems removed, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices *
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups) *
  • 8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced *
  • 1/2 pound spaghetti
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Finely grated Parmesan cheese

* indicates ingredients available at Market at the Square this weekend


Rinse kale. Drain; transfer to bowl with some water still clinging.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add sliced garlic and sprinkle with salt; cook until onion is golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add kale and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss until wilted, about 3 minutes. Cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Continue cooking until kale is very tender, stirring occasionally and adding water by teaspoonfuls if dry, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in medium pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Add cooked spaghetti to kale mixture in pot. Add lemon juice and 2 tablespoons reserved cooking liquid; toss to combine, adding more liquid by tablespoonfuls if dry. Sprinkle spaghetti with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

Sounds like a perfect Saturday evening meal, no?

This week’s food:

apples, sweet corn, fennel, fresh herbs, leeks, onions, heirloom potatoes, tomatoes, chard, fresh carrots, cabbages, lettuces and salad mixes, spinach, green onions, green beans, okra, eggplant, hot & sweet peppers, broccoli, kohlrabi, cauliflower, squashes (including pumpkins) – also, locally-raised meat and eggs, award-winning goat cheese, honey, and much more

Week # 24 features appearances by Urbana’s Public Arts program (for their final free Art at the Market workshop of the 2009 season — local artist and educator Lori Caterini will be working with patrons of all ages on mask-making). Things get underway at 8 a.m. and run through noon.

The Mahomet Aquifer Project will also be performing — from their official information: “The Mahomet Aquifer Project is a multi-year dance project that investigates the multiple influences, forces and flows on the aquifer including geography, history, hydrology, geology, environmental and economic studies.” The performance will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Walnut Street, just west of the Market site.

Looking forward to seeing everyone out there!

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